The worst cyclone in memory churned across Bangladesh and part of India, killing at least 516 people and leaving some 1,000 others missing and feared dead, officials said Wednesday. Thousands more were injured and millions affected.
As reports began trickling in from across the low-lying densely populated area, officials said they expected the death toll to rise still further. They reported those missing included three Austrian tourists and the crew of three ships that disappeared without a trace.The storm crashed out of the Bay of Bengal late Tuesday and moved northeast, its 110 mph winds and torrential rains causing widespread floods and tearing apart homes, electricity and telephone lines, crops and trees in many parts of Bangladesh and coastal areas of the neighboring Indian state of West Bengal, officials said.
By 3 a.m. Wednesday, the storm had dissipated over the hilly regions of northeast Bangladesh, but heavy rains and gusty winds continued lashing many areas of the country and forecasters said the bad weather was expected to continue through Thursday.
Bangladesh officials reported at least 453 deaths and 900 people missing, while in India authorities said 63 people had died and about 100 others were missing.
The disaster came as Bangladesh was still struggling to overcome its worst ever floods, which in late August and early September gushed from its main rivers and covered most of the 55,100 square-mile nation of 104 million people, among the poorest on earth.
More than 2,000 people died, some 30 million people were left homeless and hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure and crops were destroyed or damaged.
In Dhaka, officials said most of the 453 deaths were in the districts of Khulna, Sathkhira, Bagerhat, Jessore and Dublarchar. They estimated some 900 other people were missing, but had little hope many survived.